25 February 1841, the French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born in Limoges.
“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.“ (Pierre-Auguste Renoir)
|“... one of the masterpieces of early Impressionism“ - Bal du moulin de la Galette|
It’s hard to tell in hindsight who is to blame for devising the distinctive, comma-like brush strokes that mirror colours changing with the light, characteristically for the style that was to be called Impressionism. Monet and Renoir basically came up the same approach under the influence of Courbet and while both friends discovered diffuse reflections in the shadows and the difference that the incidence of light attribute to the same scene en plein air, often working side by side, Monet developed a more formal application of technique when a visit to Italy and the sampling of the renaissance masters, especially Raphael, convinced him that a return to a more classical approach was due in his art. He never lost his touch, though, that he developed quite early in his artistic career, of blending his figures with a softly hinted background.
|"It is fresh and free without being too bawdy“ - Renoir’s “Le déjeuner des canotiers“ (1881)|
The inherent beauty of human beings remained at the centre of his art through all periods of Renoir’s work, not only his famous nudes that would have made a Neolithic fertility fancier proud, but his fellow artists and the common people as well, usually out in the open air, at their leisure in softly suggested scenic spots. His light palette, rich colours and delicate brush strokes bestow a gentle, rather unmistakable atmosphere to his more than 6.000 paintings, even on a portrait of grim Richard Wagner – he still painted when he was confined to a wheelchair due to rheumatoid arthritis, affecting his hands as well, and when a visitor asked him how he could work under these conditions, Renoir answered "One does not paint with one's hands."
|“Bathers”, 1918, Barnes Foundation|
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